Sensors have widely been used in the railway industry for years now. Understand how new applications such as multimodal transport telemetry are being developed and showcased at latest trade fairs.

I briefly reported about my visit to the Innotrans trade fair this year. This previous post was focused on RFID solutions for the railway industry being showcased at the InnoTrans events in 2012 and 2014.

I would also like to stress that sensors in the railway industry are used a lot more than RFID. After all, our activities are linked to both RFID and sensors at the same time.

Multimodal transport telemetry at InnoTrans 2014

Farsens battery-free sensors at InnoTrans 2014

Most of them are linked to security systems and embedded in OEM products. An obvious example are sensor embedded in engines to monitor all kind of critical conditions for the security of all people in a train.

However, more and more sensors are being introduced for other purposes. From intelligent door systems to count people in and out the train/tram to temperature sensors embedded in the wheels, sensors are all over the vehicles.

One of the most interesting applications I’ve seen this year was Kapsch’s Train & Lightrail Vehicle Management Solution. Multimodal transport telemetry is all about getting real time information to help public transport operators improve performance, reduce costs and enhance passenger experience.

Including sensors to monitor the environment – temperature and humidity for example – and energy consumption of the wagon, Kapsch provides a complete solution for multimodal transport telemetry delivered as an integrated service (SaaS). All information is accessible in real-time via a web browser for the monitoring of KPS’s via standard reports in order to take decisions that improve business operations.

The main benefits are maintenance optimization, positioning of trains and trams, providing passengers with accurate information, improving on-board experience (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), proactive control of tracks and service usage accurate information.

On top of that, and the usage that seems to be gaining more interest, is the energy consumption cost reduction. By correlating energy usage data with telemetry, opportunities to save energy – and hence money – can be pinpointed. See their pioneer project with Bombardier in the LINZ AG LINIEN.

The rollout project to the entire fleet of that type of trams was started recently. I’m sharing a video with you to understand what their solution is about. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did in person.

M2M and IoT in action. Well done Kapsch!